5 Best Practices for Successful Sweepstakes and Instant-Win Promotions

Sweepstakes continue to be a super reliable “go-to” campaign tactic for brands of all types. Adding an “instant win” component to sweepstakes — one where your audience enters and immediately (instantly!) finds out if they’re a winner — increases the excitement and engagement level. Here’s some best practice advice to help maximize the potential campaign success.

Consider the “Social Value” of the Overarching Campaign Theme

When asking social audiences to participate in any promotional campaign, you’re inviting them to participate with your brand. So the call to action must immediately present clear social and/or monetary “value” to the participant. Monetary value is self-evident. Social value requires more thought. Does the campaign theme offer entertainment or social credibility? Does the audience want to share it on your behalf? Does the audience feel positive and happy to align themselves with the campaign theme? Is that value immediately understood? Coca-Cola recently took this concept on by encouraging audiences to donate to fighting AIDS and at the same time enter for a chance to win a backstage pass to meet Bono. Certainly socially worthy and shareable.

Align Prizing Appropriately With the Overarching Theme

It has become apparent to us over and again that the monetary value of the prize doesn’t have to be high, just so long as it aligns with the spirit of the brand and the theme. When prizes mesh perfectly with the personality of a loved brand, or are a “badge of honor,” good things happen. So even if all you have to give away are T-shirts, hats, toys, or logo wear, if your fans love you, they will want to participate. Of course, if you have a product like Newton Running — who recently gave away screaming hot running shoes every day — that will really energize audiences, too. Look for prizes where you can maximize the number of daily prizewinners, several times a day if possible, because this obviously means more chances to win and consequently more chances for positive social shares with your brand message.

Feature Authentic Content From Customers, Fans, and Followers Where Possible

When a campaign features content not from your brand, but from your brand followers, a level of authenticity and trust is added that helps audiences feel a connection. It shows a brand is seeing real individuals in their audience, and is appreciating what they have to say. So if your campaign goes beyond a pure “form entry” for an instant win, to encompass a call for content, feature and promote that content where you can. The new fragrance DARE from Guess comes with a sweepstakes to win a trip that includes asking for content that shows audience’s daringly sexy lifestyle by posting on Instagram with the hashtags #DoYouDare and #PostToEnter, displaying moderated content from fans on the page, too.

Build a Campaign That Encourages Fans to Come Back Multiple Times

Participating once in a campaign is great. Participating multiple times is even better. Because that means more opportunities for fans to spend time with the brand and to share their experiences with their own social communities. So think about what would bring fans back over and again…different daily prizes? New challenge questions? New content to review?

American Eagle Outfitters is turning to mobile for its 12 Days of #AEOGIFTS instant wins, asking fans to text to a mobile shortcode for a chance to win an instant voucher. Participants are reminded daily to come back and try again, all on mobile.

And Nickelodeon has had success with its “12 Days of Nick Jr.” campaign, a campaign it has rolled out in previous holiday seasons, with a new one coming up shortly. Every day of the campaign offers a new prize related to a Nick Jr. brand or character. This gave the brand something new to say every day, because every day there was a new prize to promote…creating further anticipation from their fans. Plus, every time the fan enters it gives them another chance at winning the grand prize.

Promote, Promote, Promote

Did we say that enough times?! With organic reach in the Facebook News Feed now significantly reduced, it’s a pay-to-play social world for brands. While the reach of social shares from one fan to another is good, the reach of shares from brands to audiences has to be promoted to maximize reach. While many clients understand and fully leverage standard digital paid media, we are still seeing clients who don’t include email channels and promoted posts to owned media. We’ve seen the best results from campaigns that, from the very beginning, are promoted by the brand across as many platforms as possible.

Sweepstakes and instant-win promotions give brands excellent fodder for owned channel updates — news about daily winners, notable submissions, updates on vote counts, reminders of campaign dates — they can all be promoted and shared.

So there you have it, our five best practices for successful sweepstakes and instant-win promotions on social. Good luck on your brand promotions, and let us know if you have some best practices of your own.

Image via Shutterstock.

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